In 1980, Bob and Brenda Himes (Bill Rice Ranch Missions) went to the Philippines to minister to Deaf people. They arrived with only 2 suitcases, one footlocker, and a 5-month-old baby. They began searching for Deaf people so they could teach them of God’s salvation and show them His love. Many of the Deaf they found had no language. So, Bob and Brenda had to teach a way to communicate, sign language. Recently on a mission trip to the Philippines, Jon and I served with Bob and Brenda, who have now established over a hundred deaf ministries and have trained Deaf people and deaf ministry workers for over 35 years. We were greatly blessed to see 79 people accept Christ as their Savior during two weeks of free Deaf camps!
As I saw Deaf people respond to the invitation, I thought of all these people who, because of teaching and preaching in the past and at the camps, could understand and receive Christ. What a wonderful salvation God gives! Those who before were headed to Hell are now on their way to Heaven. People who had been going to an eternity without God, now have a promise of living forever with Christ. Those who before had no purpose for life, can now say with the Apostle Paul, “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21). And it is not because they are Deaf, nor because they are Filipino. They now have an abundant life (John 10:10) because they have trusted Jesus only for salvation. Their sins are forgiven. Their salvation makes them children and heirs of God. It is amazing that a person receives so much when he accepts Jesus as Savior. But even more amazing is the fact that salvation is the greatest demonstration of God’s love! God sent His Only Son, Jesus, to make the way for a person to be saved. It was not from the heart of man, but from the heart of God, that salvation was provided. Today those 79 Deaf people, just as millions of Deaf and hearing people throughout history, can sing and thank God for His gift of salvation. “Thank you, Lord, for saving my soul. Thank you, Lord, for making me whole. Thank you, Lord, for giving to me Thy great salvation so rich and free” (Seth and Bessie Sykes, copyright 1940).